Tag Archives: ecstasy

Notes on the Cyrillian catena on I Corinthians 14:10

Some quick thoughts on concepts, and critical words in the translation of the I Corinthians 14:10 catena attributed to Cyril of Alexandria.

This text outlines a number of very interesting particulars: how ancient Greek words previously used in classical Greek rituals had become Christianized, and the office of the circuit preacher which required the knowledge of many languages. These elements are examined in more detail below.

A number of words have Greek antecedents to them that must be carefully examined. Did the Christian community in Alexandria import these into their vocabulary as is, or did they change the meaning to match what their experience was?

The text being discussed is contained in a sequence not found in Migne Patrologia Graeca, but in Phiippus Edvardus Pusey’s, Cyrilli: Archiepiscopi Alexandrini In D. Joannis Evangelium. Pusey based his text on a copy found at the Library of Pantokratoros on Mount Athos.

Both Migne and Pusey claim the origins of their works to be from Cardinal Angelus Maius, but contain different texts. Migne’s version has fewer words. It is also clear and concise. Pusey’s version has more text with some sentences being repeated with a few slight variations. It also appears some words are missing. Reading it feels choppy.

The Greek used in Pusey’s version is old. It has Doric, Attic, and Ionic representations in them. This would not be unusual for an international centre that the City of Alexandria was. It was a melting pot of many Greek languages and dialects.

It also does not contain a Latin parallel text. The Latin typically provides quick clues on how to translate problem words.

The first important word to note is εἰσεφοὶτων. This word is used exclusively in this text. It is found nowhere else (at least so far). A scouring of the internet, and all the major dictionaries, provided no clues. However, the root of εἰσεφοὶτων is φοιτάω, which means:

  • Perseus online: go to and fro, backwards and forwards, keep going from one part to another, roam wildly about, roam about in frenzy or ecstasy of a Bacchant; of sexual intercourse go into a man or woman; resort to a man, woman or place for any reason; As object of commerce—to come in constantly or regularly, be imported

  • Lampe’s Patristic Lexicon: spring-up, pollulate, of doctrines (Pg. 1847)

  • Donnegan’s A New Greek and English Lexicon; Principally on the plan of the Greek and German Lexicon of Schneider: to wander, roam about, come frequently, to go to school as a disciple or learner, wander about in a state of frenzy (Pg. 1348)

  • Schrevelius’ Greek Lexicon Translated into English: to frequent as a scholar, not as a master, come, go, approach, rave, be mad (Pg. 616)

  • Stephanus’ Thesaurus Graecae Linguae: This text is in Latin but all the definitions above, with perhaps the exception of Perseus, are taken from this source text. (Didot Bros. Volume 8. Pg. 989)

Perseus has defined φοιτάω from classical Greek sources. This is not surprising because Perseus uses Liddel and Scott’s Greek Dictionary as their basis. Lidell and Scott hardly reference Patristic writings in any of their dictionary definitions. However it does show where the word originated. It was used to describe the Bacchants who roamed about in a frenzy or ecstasy, but it also had other meanings as well.

Stephanus, Lampe, Donnegan, and Schrevelius recognize that φοιτάω has the quality of raving, or frenzy, but another principal attribute was that of frequently visiting or traveling to a place. It also became associated with going to school, discipleship, and learning. Lampe put a more developmental aspect to it. It was to initially seed doctrine within a community. Schrevelius specifically stated that φοιτάω was a verb referring to a scholar, not a master.

There are also other words that come from the same root that give hints on how to translate εἰσεφοὶτων. Donnegan is especially descriptive of these:

  • φοὶτητήρ one who goes and comes, any place, especially a school. A disciple, learner. One who is frantic (Pg. 1349).

  • φοῖτος roaming about, the wandering of the mind, insanity, also frenzy, that of the frantic votaries of the Bacchus and Cybele (Pg. 1349).

Schrevelius, spells φοὶτητήρ as φοιτητής as one who comes frequently to a master or scholar (Pg. 616).

These definitions give greater confidence in correctly translating the I Corinthians 14:10 catena portion.

The above definitions, plus the context of the Cyril text, demonstrate that εἰσεφοὶτων is considered as a localization of φοιτάω or perhaps intensified. The person is repeatedly going into Churches for the purpose of teaching the doctrines. The above dictionary definitions give the appearance that it was an entry or mid-level position, educating on the doctrines of the Church, but not by a Bishop or a Cardinal.

The English equivalent would be a circuit rider. This was a system devised by the Methodists for clergy to serve more than one congregation at a time. In Cyril’s explanation, the emphasis was on teaching in a circuit where the the Churches were linguistically different, and the base requirement for this person was to be multilingual.

The second term that is used to describe tongues-speaking was κεχρῆσθαι. This is not an exclusive term used by Cyril but one shared by Origen. This one has a wide semantic range. Perseus defines it as to furnish what is needful, to declare, pronounce, proclaim. In the passive it is to be translated as: to be declared, proclaimed by an oracle, to consult a god or oracle, to inquire of a god. It hasn’t really changed. In the instance of this catena, to proclaim was used, but this may be too weak. “To prophecy,” in the traditional religious sense, would be more suited, but this word now carries a number of contemporary meanings that would mislead many readers.

The verb ἐρεύγεσθαι is another unique word. Its root is ἐρεύγομαι: to belch out, bellow, or roar. Hence, to loudly utter, as in a public display, or simplified, to utter, is a good English word choice.

Μανθάνοντος. This present active participle masc. gen. sg form of μανθάνω was used in the Septuagint and also by Origen. One of the dictionaries defines it as: learn, especially by study but also by practice, learn by heart, acquire a habit of, and in past tenses, to be accustomed to, perceive, remark, notice, understand. Hence it is not a supernatural phenomenon, in this context of I Corinthians 14:10 people hearing a language that they have learned or is their principle language.

It is clear from the text that the standard Greek words that were used for the Bacchus Greek prophets in the past, had evolved and changed into Christian definitions. The past history of the word was known and understood, but fell out of popular usage.

Summary of the Gift of Tongues Project

Yesterday, October 22nd, this article encouraged readers to wait for the book to come out. Unfortunately, the book idea is stalled again. But that is good news. Too many people have come to this article wanting a summary now. Your request has resulted in a two-part summary being developed. It is nearly complete and will be posted. Part I should be ready by October 30th.

A Critical Look at Tongues and Montanism

Did the Montanist’s speak in tongues and is this the historical antecedent for tongues in the church today?

The christian doctrine of tongues can be traced backward in two ways. The first one through ecclesiastical literature which chronicles the passing of this rite through the centuries and marks how it has evolved. The second and more popular way is to trace the lineage back to pagan Greek antecedents. Montanism is one of the key steps in this second order. Pentecostals and Charismatics take this second option further and claim Montanism and their alleged speaking in tongues as their historical parallel.

This article is an in-depth investigation to find an answer to the above question. In accordance with the goals of the Gift of Tongues Project, source texts are provided, analyzed and commented on. Such details may seem boorish for the regular reader, but the lack of source literature and analysis is one of the greatest problems that have plagued the modern christian doctrine of tongues debate.

What is Montanism and the source texts for this controversy?

In a simplified form, it was begun by a man named Montanus around 162 AD and aided by two women, Maximilla and Priscilla. Montanism lasted up until the 6th century. For a deeper historical overview of the Montanist movement, an old publication, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature, Volume 6 covers the movement in the best detail to help the reader get up to speed with the debate at hand.

The movement is revealed through three major sources, Eusebius of Caesarea, Epiphanius Bishop of Salamis, and Tertullian. The first two write about the Montanists in very negative and vitriolic terms while Tertullian defended them. There are a number of works that allude to Epiphanius correlating Montanism with ecstatic utterances but substantiation or a source text similar to these claims has yet to be found.(1) If information comes forward on this subject this article will be modified There are other citations about Montanists found in the writings of Jerome and Didymus of Alexandria, but these do not refer to the Montanist glossolalia controversy.

The most important source for the Montanists and glossolalia is Eusebius’ account. One must keep in mind that Eusebius’ account is a critical report of the Montanist movement. It contains over-the-top rhetoric which makes the reader wonder why so many resources and time were utilized against them. The strong attack causes one to either pity the Montanists or think there is an ulterior motive by the established church against them. Judging by the voracity of words, the Montanists must have been a populist movement that the institutional church felt threatened by.

Eusebius himself has his own internal doubts about the account provided to him by an unknown author and stated, “They say that these things happened in this manner. But as we did not see them, O friend, we do not pretend to know.”(2)A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Second Series. Translated into English with Prologema and Explanatory Notes. Philip Schaff ed. Volumes I-VII. Eusebius Pamphilus. Church History. Volume 1. Michigan: Eerdmans. Pg. 234. For that reason, Eusebius’ history should be taken with a degree of skepticism.

Eusebius’ source was trying to demonize the Montanists in almost every way. The wording and semantics are purposely kept distant from anything familiar to the christian faith.

The actual text used to link Montanist with Pentecostal speaking in tongues

The alleged Montanist experience is a brief account by Eusebius in his Historiae Ecclesiasticae who narrated about two Montanist followers who went into a state of ecstasy and uttered strange sounds. What exactly were the sounds? Were they foreign languages, ecstatic speech, or something else? Is this one of the earliest christian expressions of tongues after the first Pentecost? This is the crux of the discussion.

Here is the actual text :

There is said to be a certain village called Ardabau in that part of Mysia, which borders upon Phrygia. There first, they say, when Gratus was proconsul of Asia, a recent convert, Montanus by name, through his unquenchable desire for leadership, gave the adversary opportunity against him. And he became beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved, and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning.

8. Some of those who heard his spurious utterances at that time were indignant, and they rebuked him as one that was possessed, and that was under the control of a demon, and was led by a deceitful spirit, and was distracting the multitude; and they forbade him to talk, remembering the distinction drawn by the Lord and his warning to guard watchfully against the coming of false prophets. But others imagining themselves possessed of the Holy Spirit and of a prophetic gift, were elated and not a little puffed up; and forgetting the distinction of the Lord, they challenged the mad and insidious and seducing spirit, and were cheated and deceived by him. In consequence of this, he could no longer be held in check, so as to keep silence.

9. Thus by artifice, or rather by such a system of wicked craft, the devil, devising destruction for the disobedient, and being unworthily honored by them, secretly excited and inflamed their understandings which had already become estranged from the true faith. And he stirred up besides two women, and filled them with the false spirit, so that they talked wildly and unreasonably and strangely, like the person already mentioned. And the spirit pronounced them blessed as they rejoiced and gloried in him, and puffed them up by the magnitude of his promises. But sometimes he rebuked them openly in a wise and faithful manner, that he might seem to be a reprover. But those of the Phrygians that were deceived were few in number.(3)A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church Pg. 231

The important sequences are:

  • . . . and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy. . . — πνευματοφορηθῆναί τε καὶ αἰφνιδίως ἐν κατοχῇ τινι καὶ παρεκστάσει γενόμενον, ἐνθουσιᾶν.
    I don’t know how the English translator worked it out that way. An alterntive would be: “that he was inspired by a spirit and suddenly became elated in some type of catatonic stupor and spurious ecstasy.”
  • . . .began to babble and utter strange things. . . — ἄρξασθαί τε λαλεῖν καὶ ξενοφωνεῖν
  • . . .spurious utterances. . . —

The glossolalia connection

The interpretation of this text centres around the word glossolalia. If the Montanists were glossalists, then there is a potential connection to the ancient christian rite of speaking in tongues. If not, then there is no connection with the christian community and the discussion is irrelevant.

Anyone who tries to make this association assumes that glossolalia was a special rite of speech practised by the ancient christian community. This assumption ignores that glossolalia is a new definition added to the christian doctrine of tongues that started in the early 1800s.(4)See my articles on the history of glossolalia for more information. This term should not be used to describe antecedents to the christian doctrine of tongues any earlier than this, but since the term glossolalia is so popular in the minds of contemporary scholars and readers alike, it will be permitted so that this discussion can run its course.

The importance of Montanism in the christian doctrine of tongues

Pentecostal scholars such as Rev. Heidi Baker parallel their tongues-speaking experience with the Montanists.(5)Rev. Heidi Baker. Ph.D. thesis: Pentecostal Experience: Towards a Reconstructive Theology of Glossolalia. Kings College. University of London. 1995 Pg. 79 She also holds a widely held belief in pentecostal circles that the primitivist virtues of the earliest church were lost when the church was institutionalized, regained by the Montanists, then forgotten again, until finally revived by the pentecostal movement 1800 years later.(6)Ibid Baker. Pentecostal Experience: Towards a Reconstructive Theology of Glossolalia. Pg. 79-80 The acclaimed Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements edited primarily by Stanley Burgess, a “distinguished professor of christian history at Regent University and Professor Emeritus, Missouri State University”(7)http://nyupress.org/books/9780814799987/ claims that that gift of speaking in tongues flourished with the Montanists and later influenced the glossolalic speaking eighteenth-century Camisards in south-central France. The Camisards then left a legacy for modern Pentecostals to follow.(8)Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Stanley M. Burgess, Gary B. McGee, ed. Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library. 1988. Pg. 339

The Presbyterian minded Biblical scholar who has closely studied the pentecostal movement, F. Dale Bruner, believes there is a connection between the two; “Montanism interests us as the prototype of almost everything Pentecostalism seeks to represent.”(9)Frederick Dale Bruner. A Theology of the Holy Spirit. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co. 1970. Pg. 37

Indeed looking at the Montanist movement, especially the coverage given by the renowned nineteenth-century scholar, August Neander, as found in his book, The History of the Christian Religion and Church during the First Three Centuries (Page 327), demonstrates many parallels between the two parties. However, this commonality does not mean an automatic connection with speaking in tongues which some suggest or want to happen. The pentecostal affinity to the Montanist experience makes it necessary to see if the Montanist story is a serious contributor to the history of christians speaking in tongues.

An essential keyword missing.

If one looks closely into the details, the actual historic evidence that equates Montanism with the gift of tongues is very weak. The critical Greek keyword which is used throughout the New Testament writings in reference to tongues speaking, γλῶσσα — glôssa does not appear in the text. This is required to definitively connect Montanist glossolalia with the church rite. This word connection does not exist.

This omission is a very crucial point. In order to reinforce this fact, the Greek, Latin and an English translation can be found at the following link: Eusebius on Montanism. The source work reinforces the skeptical reader that the critical Greek keyword is not there.

Two scholars, two different outcomes

Christopher Forbes and Rex D. Butler try to answer the question about the Montanists and glossolalia but come up with different results.

Christopher Forbes, who “is a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History, and Deputy Chairman of the Society for the Study of Early Christianity”(10)http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/faculties_and_departments/faculty_of_arts/department_of_ancient_history/staff/dr_chris_forbes/ at Macquarie University, argued that there is no conclusive evidence the Montanists used glossolalia.

If Montanist prophecy was in any sense analogous to glossolalia it is quite remarkable that no ancient writer ever noticed or commented on this fact. Though it is certainly true that Montanist prophecy was characterised by ecstasy (in the modern sense), and occasionally by oracular obscurity, there is no unambiguous evidence whatsoever that it took glossolalic form.(11) Christopher Forbes. Prophecy and Inspired Speech: In Early Christianity and Its Hellenistic Environment. Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.1997. Pg. 160

Rex D. Butler, Associate Professor of Church History and Patristics, at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary goes in the opposite direction.(12)http://www.nobts.edu/faculty/atoh/ButlerR/Default.html He reported that the elements of the Montanist text all correlate with glossolalia and directly counters Forbe’s claims.

  • His first argument rests on the role of the interpreter. If the prophecy was given in intelligible speech why would the service of the prophetess Maximillia, an interpreter ἑρμηνεύτην, be required?(13) Rex D. Butler. The New Prophecy and “New Visions”: Evidence of Montanism in the Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas Pg. 32

  • Secondly, he charged that Forbes failed to recognize that the prophets utilized both intelligible and unintelligible speech. Third, he argued against Forbes definition of ξενοφωνεῖν. Forbes believed it to mean to speak as a foreigner while Butler believed it to mean to speak strangely. Butler further adds if it is combined with λαλεῖν, which is found in the Eusebius text as λαλεῖν καὶ ξενοφωνεῖν, then the phrase should be translated as chatter or babble. Finally, Butler concluded, “Forbes arguments are not sufficient to overturn the historic understanding that Montanists engaged in glossolalia.”(14) Rex D. Butler. The New Prophecy and “New Visions”: Evidence of Montanism in the Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas Pg. 33

The arguments on both sides rest on ancient sources and linguistics. Therefore, it is necessary to take a further look into the subject matter. Continue reading A Critical Look at Tongues and Montanism

References   [ + ]

Thomas Aquinas on the Doctrine of Tongues: Intro

St_Thomas_d'Aquin_(1225-1274)

Introduction to the translation and analysis of Thomas Aquinas’ writings relating to the Christian doctrine of tongues.

Aquinas wrote considerably on this subject. His synopsis answers some very important questions on the ecclesiastical history of tongues from the fourth century onwards and how the definition finally began to shift during his own period.

1. Background

Thomas Aquinas lived from AD 1225 to 1274. He “was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian,”(1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas His methodology, and analytic approach from a Greek philosophical framework has highly influenced later scholars in almost every field.

When reading Aquinas’ works, one comes up with a multiple of conclusions about Aquinas himself. He can be perceived as a brilliant free-thinker well versed in the Bible, deeply entrenched in personal piety, willing to use literature outside of the Bible, especially classical Greek writings, and very systematic. However, he sometimes comes across so systematic that it appears very dry and terse.

This doctor of the Church was a very good agent in communicating and documenting the Catholic oral traditions of his time in a concise and very structured fashion. He appears to be building a Christian equivalent of the Jewish Halaka which is the way historical and evolving traditions of Jewish law have been codified. The Halaka is encapsulated in such thinkers such as Rashi and Maimonides. Aquinas seems to be following a similar pattern. The Wikipedia article on Maimonides claims Maimonides had a fundamental influence on Aquinas and that Aquinas explicity referred to him in a number of his works.(2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maimonides I have not substantiated this claim but I would lean more towards this claim than against it.

The Aquinas Centre for Theological Renewal at the Ava Maria University, classifies him differently and concludes:

“Saint Thomas Aquinas is a paradox. He was a mystic and a rigorously scientific theologian. His attachment to Judaeo-Christianity was strong enough for him to appreciate and appropriate pagan truths. An Aristotelian, he never ceased utilizing Platonic insights. In him a deep reverence for the Church Fathers was coupled with an astonishing zest for novelty.

All of these cross-currents were to show up in his biblical exegesis. He was neither an Alexandrian nor an Antiochene, perhaps because he was both. No one has successfully categorized his approach to the Bible.

Advocates of allegory claim him as their own and defenders of strictly literal interpretation praise him for asserting the sufficiency of the letter. A noted Oxford historian admires the revolutionary quality of his exegetical principles and a prominent Jesuit theologian finds them simply traditional. Is St. Thomas’ genius really so elusive? Or was he being eclectic at the expense of consistency?(3)Aquinas Centre for Theological Renewal un-named pdf.

Even with these many conflicting sides of Aquinas present, he was innovative in his time for the comprehensive and systematic nature of his approach. However, innovative in the sense of proposing new doctrine would not be a proper description. He was a traditionalist and not a maverick.

His Lectures are an intense work of faith on the one hand, but on the other, it often appears as a limited hermenuetic of the Bible with little or no reference to critical analysis.

2. Translation and Methodology

The methodology contains a comprehensive overview that focuses on the multifaceted nature of this issue. It goes far beyond tongues as a heavenly, ecstatic or human language. One of the problems of the tongues controversy are generalizations with few documented examples. This is why so much time and effort was made on translating the majority of his works relating to the gift of tongues.

This study intends to find seven aspects to the nature and evolution of the definition.

  • First of all it is to determine how Aquinas defined the mystery of tongues.

  • Secondly, did he separate the tongues of Corinthians from that of Pentecost? Were they the same or entirely different entities?

  • Third, to see if he attempted to rectify the Nazianzus paradox of it either being miraculous speech, or a miracle in hearing.

  • Fourth, what arguments, disputes or disagreements on the subject existed during his time.

  • Fifth, to analyze if his writings demonstrated the doctrine of tongues shifting into the prophecy definition. This becomes more important in the later definition of tongues between the Reformation and early 1800s.

  • Sixth, to find his definition on the office of tongues in the Church liturgy. This is important for tracing the office of the public reader (which initially was connected with the gift of tongues) and how it evolved over the centuries.

  • Seventh, to understand the concept of unknown tongues as was used in his texts. What did he mean by it, and how did it possibly influence later thinkers and translators.

This series, along with all the other ecclesiastical writers on the subject, is intended to provide the texts in the original language, along with an English translation and analysis. This is to counter the over-generalizations and lack of scholarship that has so badly scarred and misdirected issues surrounding the Church doctrine of tongues.

The translations are based on the printed version found in S. Thomae Opera. Roberto Busa, S.I. ed. Fromman-Holzboog. 1980. There is an almost identical web version available at corpusthomisticum.org.

The I Corinthians document is in a form of captured lectures supposedly by Aquinas, known in Latin as Reportationes. The Lectures on I Corinthians is composed of three different texts. Chapters 1 to 7:10 are considered very close to Aquinas style but no details are further given. Chapters 11 to 13:11 are recorded “by St. Thomas’ intimate companion and friend, Reginald of Piperno.”(4)Aquinas Centre for Theological Renewal un-named pdf. See also Index Thomisticus The actual mention in Busa’s publication is called RIL; short for Leonine text. Next is the Vulgata Copiis which overlaps going from chapters 11 to 16. The Gift of Tongues Project is concerned more about the dating of a text than the actual authorship because the intention is to trace the evolution of a thought from inception to its final course. Aquinas is viewed not so much as the individual man, but a point of thought in the stream of time, and how later followers interpreted and passed the Aquinas perceived version of the doctrine over to the next generation.

Judging by the copious use of Scripture being cited in the Stephanus format, ie: Eph. 2:2, which didn’t become part of the Bible until the 16th century, the manuscript is not a very old one and must be dated the 16th century or later. This does affect the conclusion as the Lectures do conflict with that contained in Summa Theologica. This discrepancy is addressed in the conclusion of this series.

The tongues subject matter was first found via Busa’s thorough index. From the index, I was able to find the most valuable resources on tongues.

3. English Translation Editions Available

There are numerous English translations available on Aquinas’ works on Summa Theologica but only one is popularly found on I Corinthians — Fabian Larcher’s unpublished translation on I Corinthians. It has been posted at Ave Maria’s website in a non-critical edition, with hopes that the centre will improve it to a final form.

Larcher’s introduction to the English world with the works of Aquinas is massive. However, for the purpose of this tongues project, it is always necessary to check the source works, because many translations are old and lack contemporary English, some are abridged or condensed, and others did not pay much attention to the tongues passages for language equivalents, Larcher’s work could not be considered de-facto. Also, being forced to translate an original work always gives the researcher additional clues often overlooked. Larcher’s work is good, probably better than the following one provided by myself. However, this work does consult Larcher frequently, improving on his translation in some areas, while going on a separate route on others. For example, Larcher provides the translation for imaginarias visiones as imaginary visions which is a literal translation but directs the modern English readers mind into a wrong definition. The proper translation and the reasons behind it can be found by reading the following article: Thomas Aquinas on the the Prophet and Imaginary Visions.

4. Structure of his works

Aquinas liked to structure all his thoughts by breaking them into two, and at the most four reasons, to explain any passage in detail. He utilized this structure quite frequently.

His lectures, or in Latin, Reportationes, is also like one long stream of endless words. The sections are very long and do not include any sub-titles or verses. This may be only a problem related to the way the printed edition was typeset and formatted, but it initially appears large and overwhelming.

Aquinas rushes the reader with every sentence and every word. He changes thought very quickly with no segue to the next concept. One paragraph can easily contain 10 or 20 deep, intellectual or complex one-liner ideas that challenge ones Biblical and philosophical familiarity. Consequently, none of his works can be read in one sitting.

Evangelical readers will find Aquinas style and structure very similar to their traditional protestant Bible commentaries.

5. Important key-words in Aquinas’ writings

Aquinas had a strong preoccupation with defining the Christian faith through a classical Greek framework. Therefore, there are certain key-words that must be understood especially in his lectures on I Corinthians. Three of them especially stand-out, intelligo, scio and cognitio. The word intelligo is meant to mean simple understanding of facts, scio is to know something through practice, experience or ability, cognitio is a far more intimate knowledge of a person or thing. It is the Greek equivalent of gnosis which in the Christian tradition is a type of knowledge that changes ones perceptions and decision making processes, resulting in transformation, personal growth and changed behaviour. It is the prime impulse that motivates ones Christian life and witness. This whole subject was dealt with in a previous work, Origen on the Gift of Tongues. Aquinas’ use of Cognitio is interesting because it is used more frequently as noun rather than its verbal form, cognosco. It is a state rather than an action that must be pursued.

It is very difficult to translate these nuances to the modern English reader. I don’t think neither myself nor Larcher are entirely successful in rendering this properly to the English reader. It needs more work.

Interpreto, this noun is typically translated as interpreted; which is communicating one language to another. However, Aquinas adds this literal definition with a spiritual sense. He thinks interpretation of divine things, including that of any ecclesiastical tongues, to be the function of the prophet. Interpreto in this mode does not simply mean to interpret language, but requires mental comprehension of a divine infusion. Therefore in the spiritual sense, understanding is sometimes necessary to use as English equivalent rather than interpret.

Then there are the words: imaginarius,imaginarius visiones, imaginatio, and imaginativus. These are covered in two separate articles; Thomas Aquinas on the Prophet and Imaginary Visions and Aquinas on Imagination Part 2.

Another important word that appears typically in this portion of Aquinas’ text is lingua. It is translated in the following copy interchangeably as language or tongue.The English translation of this word is controversial and has been covered in a previous article, The Difference Between Language and Tongues. Past research has clearly defined these words as synonyms meaning foreign language and has been applied this way.

Another word that is frequently used in Aquinas’ works is the adverb scilicet: “namely, certainly, in fact, of course, clearly etc.” It is very repetitive in Aquinas’ works and so I have tried to use different English equivalents in repeated sequences to avoid reader fatigue.

6. His use of Scripture

Thomas Aquinas assumed a high level of Biblical literacy on behalf of the reader. It requires a thorough, if not, a complete mnemonic knowledge of all Scripture. In the original Latin, he briefly cites a passage, sometimes only two or three words, assuming that the Christian reader can fill in the blanks where necessary. There are three ways to identify he is citing a verse: first of all, at least in the Busa edition and Corpus Thomisticum, they have included the Bible reference before a verse, ie: Num. 10:5. This is the most obvious identifier. Secondly, if this is not the case, the verse can be found in the printed edition by a special typographical mark that looks like a footnote resembling the letter o. Last of all, it is frequently preceded by the adverb ibi.

This scant reference to Bible verses and such a high assumption of Bible knowledge can easily lose the modern English reader trying to understand his works. Fabian Larcher overcomes these predicaments by including full verses instead of two or three words. He also cites the complete Bible passage at the beginning of each section. This is not part of Aquinas work in the Latin, but makes it much easier to follow for the English reader. He also put the Bible verses after the Biblical citation which is correct for the typical English reader, but the verse citations are actually placed before in the Latin. My translation sometimes puts the verse before and other times after the Bible quotation, depending on what makes best sense to the English reader in that specific construct.

To be accurate to the original printed Reportationes publication, I have not expanded the Bible passages nor put the complete Bible passage at the beginning of the section. The verse numbering system that Larcher has invented for his English translation is a good idea but due to time constraints, it is not included it in my own translation.

7. The Latin Original

There is a complete typeset Latin copy of Reportationes (His lectures) included with this project’s translation which is also available at a link shown below. The Latin data entry and proof-texting was done by me personally and there may be a slight chance of errors. This is here for convenience. If one is on a critical point, it is best to go to the web version available at corpusthomisticum.org.

A comparison of the modern Vulgate compared to the Aquinas manuscripts demonstrates very few critical differences. This is unlike most historical Latin Ecclesiastical texts which typically have a serious amount of variances from the Vulgate. This stimulates an important question that must be asked. Are these Bible citations in Aqulnas’ text a corrected or amended version from the 16th century as well? I do not have an answer for this.

Summa Theologia is not included in the Latin copy because it is already popularly available. An external link is given below.

8. A list of Aquinas texts relating to tongues.

Here is a complete list of translations and commentary being pursued on this project.

References   [ + ]

Notes on the Montanists Part 3

Why there has been delays in the article, The History of Tongues as an Ecstatic Utterance: The Montanists Part 3 and why it will take some time.

The Montanists Part 3 intends to do three things: first of all, to cover the development of Medieval and Reformational thought related to prophecy and ecstasy and how the subject of ecstasy shifted in the 1800’s into the tongues controversy.

Secondly it seeks to analyze the ancient pagan Greek accounts of the ecstatic seers who allegedly went into frenzy and spoke ecstatically. It is to clarify from the Greek exactly what these accounts were and to prove whether it was ecstatic utterances or a modern invention that did not exist in the original texts.

Lastly, it is to do a morphological analysis of all the key Greek words on tongues through the various dictionaries and lectionaries over different periods of time and compare.

Regarding prophecy and ecstasy, it was assumed that other publications would have already covered this from a historical perspective and therefore it was not necessary for any further research.

The initial approach looked at a number of books, reducing this genre to only three that were really applicable to prophecy and ecstasy:

Underhill’s work above and other works are well-done but do not cover the subject matter in the greater social context as Lecky did. Underhill as well is too clinical in her approach. It did not give clarity to how prophecy and ecstasy evolved through the ages and what impact this doctrine had on the western world.

Fanning devotes almost exclusively to the lives of selected mystics with little observation to the social impact of ecstasy on the ecclesiastical heirarchy, its decision making processes, leadership structure, and general society.

The conclusion is that the subject of prophecy and ecstasy from 1400-1800 A.D. is greatly under-represented in any popular literature and needs to be further studied.

This subject matter is an important part of the history of tongues, and therefore it has become a vital clue in the evolution of this Church practice.

However, one old book by Lecky doesn’t make a conclusive argument, and since there are no substantive contemporary documents so far found on the development of prophecy and ecstasy as a doctrine from the 13th century onwards along with its social impact, this will take some time to research and write.

For the time being, I am translating Thomas Aquinas on the gift of tongues and happily have found what appear to be the primitive origins of the prophecy and ecstasy doctrine in his works.